Wednesday, May 18, 2011
It all started when I went on a snowshoeing trip back in mid February with a couple of coworkers. I promised my friend, Elaine, that I would bake her kids some cake if she'd go with us (the plan was that she was supposed to go anyway without my cake offer), so that she wouldn't feel so bad leaving the family for the weekend. Long story short, she had been "reminding" me about it a few times a week for 2.5 months! Yeah, she is not the shy kind or anything, she would definitely do anything to get her way to the cake. She even made request that it has to be chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate, and no alcohol please (demanding, I know). I had persuaded her to opt for the fruity one, but she was firm on chocolate. While the rest of the world (or US) is putting their best effort to showcase the summer jewels (read: strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, lemon), here I am making a chocolate cake in the middle of Spring. But if I'm making a chocolate cake, there's no way that I would make a plain chocolate cake without putting some twist to it.
Hidemi Sugino's creations for the longest time, along with Pierre Herme, Sadaharu Aoki, and a few others. One of his most popular dessert, which is also the cover of the book is Ambroisie, a chocolate mousse cake layered with two different kinds of joconde (chocolate and pistachio), raspberry garniture, pistachio mousse, and covered in shiny chocolate glaze. It sounded pretty intimidating looking at the many components, given the fact that I haven't been making much entremets lately due to time constraint, and indeed it took me no less than two weeks to finish the whole thing! No, it is not that hard really, but since time is so difficult to find lately, I was just proud to be able to even finish this cake. I would say the difficult part was trying to figure out the how-to's since the instruction is in Japanese and my skill level in that department is pretty much negative, I can only rely on my very-limited-to-baking-ingredients French, but if you know the basic preparation to make mousse, bavarian cream, joconde, it is doable.
It only makes me more eager to get back to making entremets, especially now that strawberry season is here! I started to go farmers' market almost every Sunday now when the weather is nice, and I was so delighted to see that my favorite strawberry stall was there! Immediately I bought 6 baskets of strawberries last week, sweet and tasty as I remember it to be. I also found blueberries, and cherries! A little early maybe for the cherries, but hey I am not complaining. I also got those tulips from the most gorgeous flower stall called "super tulips" and they are indeed SUPER! So many good stuff floating around, I haven't even had the time to play with blood oranges, meyer lemons, now add strawberries and cherries to the list. But anyways, I'm trying to savor every minute of the wonderful days we've been having, although the weather here has been back in Winter mode again for the past week and rain too. I still hope I can get more free time in the kitchen by myself to play around.
As far as recipes, I am really struggling to find the time and try to write it down, especially since the book is in Japanese (and I have no idea how to read it). I start planning on the Spring Cleaning of my freezer though and I cannot wait to get to it!